Boykin Tahl Waiver

Boykin v. Alabama (1969) 395 U.S. 238, 242-244 (Boykin) and In re Tahl (1969) 1 Cal.3d 122, 130-133 (Tahl), set forth the rule that in order to ensure that a defendant's "guilty plea" is knowing and voluntary, the trial court is required to inform the defendant of three constitutional rights (right to a jury trial, right to cross-examine witnesses, & right to remain silent) and obtain a waiver of each. In re Yurko (1974) 10 Cal.3d 857 extended this procedure to the defendant's admission of a prior conviction allegation which increases punishment. (Yurko, supra, 10 Cal.3d at p. 863.) In People v. Cross (2015) 61 Cal.4th 164, the defendant was charged with a felony violation of section 273.5, subdivision (a). It was further alleged that the defendant had a prior Penal Code section 273.5 conviction for purposes of enhanced punishment. At trial, the defendant stipulated to the prior without having been advised of or waiving his Boykin-Tahl rights. The jury convicted the defendant and found the prior to be true. The defendant was sentenced to the upper term of five years. (Cross, supra, 61 Cal.4th at pp. 168-169.) Cross held that Yurko applies when a defendant admits by stipulation all necessary facts for imposing an enhanced punishment under section 273.5, former subdivision (e)(1). (Cross, at pp. 168, 174, 179.) "Yurko error is not reversible per se." (Cross, at p. 171.) "The test for reversal is whether 'the record affirmatively shows that the guilty plea is voluntary and intelligent under the totality of the circumstances.'" (Ibid.) Cross reversed, finding there was nothing in the record which showed the defendant was aware of his right to a fair determination of the prior. (Id. at p. 180.)